We are commanded that in every generation, every Jew is obligated to view themselves as though they came out of Egypt. In most Jewish families, this means dipping parsley in salt water, eating horseradish covered in charoset and singing “Hagadya”. For me, this has also meant that for the last 5 years, I have attended Jews United for Justice’s annual Labor Seder. For the past few years, I have a been a part of the seder planning team and this year, I have been co-chairing the planning process. The Labor Seder is meaningful to me because the value of Tikkun Olam has always been central to my personal Jewish identity, but I have not always known how to integrate my activism with traditional Judaism. My involvement in the Labor Seder has allowed me to connect my favorite Jewish festival, Passover, with my desire to see a more just world.
The haggadah states – “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt – now we are free.” But many in our society are not free and experience oppression and hardship every day. Every year, the Labor Seder brings a social justice issue of local and national importance together with the traditional themes of the Seder, connecting our history and values as Jews with the struggles of working people. This year, as DC, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have already taken action to raise the minimum wage and JUFJ is part of an active campaign to raise the wage in all of Maryland, the theme of the Seder is the need to raise the minimum wage. The 300+ person event features singing, speakers, group discussion, taking action, and of course, some light noshing.
The Seder will be at 5:30 pm on Sunday, March 23rd at Adas Israel Congregation in Cleveland Park, DC. You can find more information and buy tickets here.